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How to Interpret the NNTP Active File

When you examine the active file, the first line usually reads 215 NewsGroups Follow, as Web Figure 1 shows. This statement doesn’t refer to the number of newsgroups in the file but signifies the NNTP response success code to a LIST ACTIVE NNTP command. The remaining lines in the file contain information about the available newsgroups. Each line represents one newsgroup and contains four space-delimited fields.

The lines’ format is group, last posting, first posting, posting status. In the second line in Web Figure 1, the group is the newsgroup’s name (i.e., alt.binaries.startrek). Last posting and first posting are the article IDs of the last and first articles, respectively, known to be in the newsgroup. You can calculate the number of postings in the newsgroup by subtracting the second article ID number from the first listed article ID number. For example, the alt.binaries.startrek group has 12,476 postings available from this server (727859-715383=12476). Finally, three characters represent the posting status: n means posting prohibited, y means posting permitted, and m means posts are moderated.

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